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Anne Sexton, 27 Feb 2012
There are good, bad and indifferent gigs, but every now and then you get to see one that underlines just how talented a band or artist is. Cathy Davey’s third and final show of her Whelans’ residency was such a gig. Singing the songs of her musical heroes from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, the performance emphasised Davey as a singer, rather than a songwriter.
For anyone fed-up with the never-ending parade of technically decent but soulless covers steadily fed us by so-called talent television, this would be something of a revelation. Davey’s voice is eminently suitable to iconic covers such as Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Misty’, Dusty Springfield’s ‘Spooky’ and Marlene Dietrich’s ‘You Do Something To Me’ because it is incredibly personal, in both senses of the word. It draws you in, inviting you close, but her voice is so unmistakeably her own that Davey brings something unique to each song even while remaining faithful to the original.
Choosing highlights from an evening of so many of them is tricky. But her versions of Mama Cass’s ‘Dream .A Little Dream Of Me’ and Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ were perhaps that little bit extra special, showcasing how Davey’s voice can effortlessly glide between girlish ingénue and smoky-voiced femme fatale.
Towards the end of the evening, Davey notes that a huge amount of work had gone into this one-off show and suggests she might be persuaded to do a second one. If she does – go. Beg, borrow or steal, lie, scam or cheat – just go.